The Ara Coeli Mass has become a St. John Fisher School tradition put on every Christmas Eve during the 6 pm Mass by the second grade class. This Mass is named for an ancient church and shrine of the Blessed Virgin on the Capitoline Hill in Rome. On Christmas Eve, guests at Santa Maria of Ara Coeli climb one hundred twenty-four candle-lined steps and enter the church. At midnight, an olive wood statue of Baby Jesus covered in jewels is paraded from his private chapel to a ceremonial throne and finally to a Nativity Crib. Then the children of Rome approach the pulpit and offer prayers, recite poems, or make requests before the Santo Bambino. The students receive their readings and memorize them. In preparation, the class practices throughout the month of December. This year, we included third grade students as they were unable to participate last year. This years readers: Brianna, Chase, Chloe, Diana, Dylan, Kayden, Maya, Michael, Natalie, Nicole, and Solomon. Thank you to all the families for helping students memorize their readings and parishioners for joining us.